The Adult Drug Court in Omaha is not only the oldest drug court in the state, but also one of the oldest in the nation. Founded in 1997, it was the 13th drug court in the United States. This problem-solving court exists to divert individuals arrested for drug possession away from incarceration and through a supervised program that addresses their substance abuse issues.
While drug court is the best option for some people, there is no guarantee of admission—much less successful completion of the program. Only a few applicants are accepted each year, and some are terminated from the program before completion. If you are facing criminal charges related to controlled substances, an Omaha drug attorney can help you apply for this program.
Qualifying for Drug Court in Omaha
The qualifications for drug court are strict. If you are facing drug-related felony charges, you must contact the prosecutor within ten weeks of your arrest. Then, the court will screen you to determine your substance abuse risk level.
If admitted to drug court, you must plead guilty to your charges in district court. This waives your right to a trial or an appeal in the criminal case. In addition to the guilty plea, you must also admit to having a substance abuse problem and agree to the conditions set by the court.
Drug court is only available to first-time offenders with no previous felony convictions on their record. There are also certain misdemeanor convictions that could render a person ineligible, including resisting arrest or flight to avoid arrest. Candidates must not have any active warrants or other pending felony charges. Additionally, they cannot owe any restitution to another party.
Finally, drug court is only an option for individuals who have never been through a similar “problem-solving court” before. This includes drug courts in Omaha or even in other jurisdictions. If you have successfully completed drug court in the past or been terminated from the program, you should speak with a lawyer about potential alternatives.
A System of Incentives and Sanctions
Drug court uses a series of sanctions and incentives to push members in the program to follow the rules and work towards commencement. The sanctions for non-compliance can vary from verbal warnings to writing assignments and even incarceration. Termination from the program is the ultimate sanction.
There are also incentives for compliance, including the waiver of monthly fees, verbal praise in court, and certificates of achievement. Those enrolled in drug court could also earn fewer mandatory court appearances over time.
The ultimate incentive is the potential dismissal of the underlying criminal charge. When you graduate from drug court and complete your commencement, the court could dismiss the charges you pled guilty to in district court. The end result is a criminal record that does not reflect a felony drug conviction. An experienced attorney can further explain the benefits of going through this problem-solving court.
Talk to an Attorney about Drug Court in Omaha
Drug court is a viable option for many people facing criminal charges. However, it might not be a good fit for everyone. Acceptance to this court requires you to waive your right appeal as well as your right to a trial. If the case against you is weak, a better option may be to fight the charges in court.